The research series covered research of the:
The questions that are included in these posts are not meant to be exhaustive; their purpose is to get you started on the questions that you need to ask at the beginning of your business plan process. When answering questions other questions will come up. pay attention to them. And don’t forget to have fun in the process.
This section of the series covers the production plan, operations plan, marketing plan, organizational plan, and financial plan. The assessment of risk is more of a look at the parts of your business plan are the riskiest, so researching it involves understanding risks and digging into your plan to find what risks are inherent in your plan. Research of the other five parts of the plan involves figuring out what is needed to make your venture successful.
- What facilities are needed to execute your plan and what production processes are needed to bring your products to the point where they are ready for purchase?
- What specific operational competencies does your venture need to be able to deliver on the product/service that you are offering your customer?
- What kinds of programs do you think will best bring your product to your customers?
- What pricing strategy will best help your venture find the balance between a maximizing profit and also pricing to attract the customer?
- What is the best way to package the offering to make it appealing to the customer, what should the package look like, what should it feel like, what should be printed on it?
- And of course how do you distribute the product to the customer (see the supplier subheading of Industry Analysis Research Post for more specific questions on this)?
- What kind of brain trust will you need to bring your business from paper to real life?
- Where will you recruit these people from?
- What functions will they serve?
- Do you have to have to hire everyone in house or can you outsource some of the required functions?
- Does outsourcing present a risk to your organization?
- The primary research involved in this area is determining how much everything costs.
Finding the answers to these questions involves having an understanding of what a business like yours would need to operate effectively. A good start might be to look at exemplary businesses in your prospective industry and use them as a model to get the information that you need to develop your own plan. Another option would be to look at a company whose methods you admire and whose method can be effectively used for your purposes. Things that need to be known include:
- Production methods, capital requirements, and associated costs
- Operation models, capital requirements, and associated costs
- Marketing decisions that need to be made, marketing methods, and associated costs
- And of course the human resource needs of the company, how these will be sourced, and associated costs
It has been a while since I posted on the site, but I have not forgotten about the research series. We are almost at the end of it and to let you know what to expect, there are only two parts left – new questions and a wrap up.
To do a recap here is where we have been so far:
Let’s dive right in.
The key question that this section needs to answer to yourself and to the reader is:
What type of business do you want to build?
This question is a fun one to answer because it requires more introspection than external research The key to successfully getting to the bottom of things in this section is to be honest about exactly what your business is trying to achieve. No false modesty and no illusions of grandeur, just the plain truth about what you want to build and how you are going to get there. Since this section is more about introspection on what your business will be, I will dive right into the questions that I believe are critical to fully answering the question above. Here goes:
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- What makes your business uniquely endowed to solve this problem?
- What about your business makes it suited to serving the customer segment that you are targeting with your offering?
- What exactly is your offering?
- How is this offering differentiated from the rest of the market?
- What makes this point of differentiation relevant to the target customer?
- What do you need to produce your offering? Here you deal with logistics (see the distributors and suppliers portion of the Industry Analysis Research How To for more on this):
- Where will your facility be, what size, utilities et al do you need?
- If it is a production facility how will your product reach the customer?
- If it is a service facility/retail location is it easily accessible?
- What are the cost implications of all of this?
- And last but not the least, what qualifications do you have to bring this business to life and run it in a way as to make it successful?
These questions only begin to scratch the surface of getting to the heart of the purpose of your business, and as with most good questions the answers to them might bring up more questions that need to be answered. The goal to getting this section right taking the time to do the work of answering the questions honestly and not just state what you believe will make a good read.